The art and writing can stand on their own while the gimmick will likely distract anyone reading aloud even as it delights...

CUDDLY COW

A FARM FRIENDS SOUND BOOK

A cow named Cuddly searches for a quiet place to hit the hay in this book with barnyard sounds supplied in an embedded sound chip.

From the cover, toddlers can push a big green button (which doubles as a speaker) to activate the chip, which features a loud moo with other animal sounds in the background; die-cut circles in the lower corner of the cover and subsequent pages ensure its accessibility throughout. Cuddly tries to bunk with the hens, a horse, and the pigs to no avail. She has a brainstorm and counts the sheep in a field and quickly falls asleep. Scheffler, of The Gruffalo fame, uses richly colored gouache to paint scenes with friendly, wide-eyed farm residents against pastoral backgrounds. Young readers may be confused to see a very bright sky in this tale set at twilight. Each one-page scene is paired with a nicely scanning quatrain set in a large font against a brightly colored background on the opposite page. In the companion title, titular Higgly Hen loses her eggs as they hatch, legs first, and then walk away. In slapstick fashion, she chases the walking eggs around the farm until she finds them all in time for them to complete their emergence. This offering sports a large yellow button that clucks realistically when pressed. The battery can be replaced by opening a panel (with a tiny Phillips screwdriver) in the back of the book, but caregivers may choose to let the noisemaker die a natural death.

The art and writing can stand on their own while the gimmick will likely distract anyone reading aloud even as it delights little ears and fingers. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9325-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Useful for toddling birders in need of board books about colors.

BABY'S FIRST BOOK OF BIRDS & COLORS

Gorgeous birds amid foliage of similar hues introduce eight basic colors.

The two birds presented on each spread not only are of similar coloration, but also live in the same North American habitat. A scarlet tanager and a cardinal, both male, perch in a red maple tree; a male Eastern bluebird and a blue jay appear with morning glories and blueberries. The name of each color is printed in large font, while the name of each bird is in a much smaller one. Whether the bird shown is male or female, or if the male and female have similar coloring, is also indicated. The names of the trees they perch upon are identified in a note on the back cover. These details will be lost on most toddlers, but caregivers will appreciate being able to answer questions knowledgeably. Colors featured are from the standard box of crayons, except that pink is substituted for purple. Black and white share a spread. The cover image, of a cardinal, goldfinch, and bluebird in a birdbath, is not nearly as inviting as the images within. The final spread shows children (one white, one black, one Asian) assembling a puzzle that includes the same birds. This may serve as a reprise but will probably be skipped over. Bird-loving readers will probably feel that the space could have been put to better use by giving white birds their own page or adding a purple martin.

Useful for toddling birders in need of board books about colors. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-742-6

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A ferociously entertaining blend of wonder, thrills, and science.

DINOSAUR ADVENTURE

From the Zoom series

Young explorers risk prehistoric perils and cataclysmic destruction to learn about the dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous.

Best friends Jasmine (who has brown skin and wears dark hair in a braid) and Jamie (who presents White and has a thatch of brown hair) set their time machine for the days of the dinosaurs, go exploring, and make it home in time for dinner. This well-constructed board book is both visually engaging and as rich in information as it is in adventure. It features 17 different two-page set pieces, 24 distinctly labeled prehistoric creatures, creative die cuts offering tantalizing peeks at what lies beyond each turn of the page, and a spectacular pop-up of the asteroid that caused the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event. The adventurers journey through or over habitats ranging from jungles, swamps, deserts, plains, and oceans and fly through the air and dive in the sea with the help of a friendly pterosaur and elasmosaurus, respectively. The featured creatures are all Age-appropriate, as is the asteroid. The two friends are cool and cavalier about tracking T. rex and chasing Velociraptor. Caregivers might want to caution their charges that, if or when they get their time machines working, they should exercise appropriate caution when approaching powerful, carnivorous eating machines. Companion volume Rainforest Adventure stars a light-brown–skinned girl named Lin and is a similarly engaging and informative trek down the Amazon and, once again, home by dinner. Both offer inspiration for inquisitive young adventurers everywhere.

A ferociously entertaining blend of wonder, thrills, and science. (Board book. 1-5)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-912920-46-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: tomorrow

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For very young children already buggy for bugs. (Board book. 1-3)

BUGS!

From the DR. Books series

There’s plenty of information and instruction crammed into this 5 ½-inch-square board book.

Hutton starts with the opening lines of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” leaving blanks to indicate where readers should fill in key words. Caregivers of toddlers who do not know the song will need to supply the words until their children are familiar enough with it to play the game. On the third page the tone shifts to conversational questioning, providing a model of dialogic reading. The adult reader speaks directly to the child: “Did you just see a bug? What kind of bug was it?…Was it BIG or small? Inside or outside?” The next six pages continue in that vein, providing information in response to the questions. Pages 11 and 12 refer to the rhyme again: “What’s that spider doing? Yes, it’s climbing! Climbing up a water spout! Climbing up a water spout at Grandpa’s house!” This method of repetition and expansion on an idea is excellent practice for beginning readers, but again, toddlers may need time to adjust. The final spread returns to a question likely to engage toddlers, with no practice necessary: “What’s your favorite kind of bug?” Colorful illustrations in shades of blue, green, and brown are only semirealistic; they emphasize a friendly look instead of a creepy one, potentially disappointing for young entomologists fascinated by the real thing.

For very young children already buggy for bugs. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-936669-80-6

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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